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Commentary :: Politics
Boston's Critical Mass is so fucking lame....
06 Aug 2004
Most of you, especially those that take the lead, are missing the point.
Have any of you ever done the San Francisco ride?

The point is not to ride around in circles and simply block automobile traffic for the fuck of it. By the way, haphazardly blocking automobile traffic is inherently stupid and dangerous - how do you know that you aren't blocking people that are on the way for medical care?

Anyways, the larger point is that the ride is supposed to be fun. In San Francisco we'd ride around throughout the entire city - the point was to use the roads just like a car would - not to simply block every car and act like assholes to the drivers because we felt like it.

Dan the Bagel Man, and the other leaders have taking the fun out of the Boston ride. You guys are missing the point entirely.

And don't say that there are no leaders of this. I've done the last two rides and people generally go where Dan the Bagel Man tells them too.

And another thing...the SF riders don't all STOP just because a couple of people have to.....I've never seen such a lame proceeding as the on the June ride when people were screaming for everyone to stop because two riders had to stop for some minor bullshit.

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Re: Boston's Critical Mass is so fucking lame....
06 Aug 2004
I was actually surprised to hear a few people describe the purpose of Critical Mass as blocking traffic. Here in Pittsburgh, it's a fun ride where blocking traffic isn't the intention. We don't obey all traffic laws, mind you- we try to keep the group together and whatnot- but we certainly don't have the goal of making anyone's commute worse.

It's a fun ride and we usually go in one large circle, with a total route of a few miles. Nobody should be delayed more than a minute or two by our ride.

It's less of a protest the way we do it, and more of a fun bike ride.

I'm not going to go the route of the original poster on condemn/insult the Boston version, I'm merely explaining how it differs. To each group their own.
Re: Boston's Critical Mass is so fucking lame....
06 Aug 2004
I had a lot of fun, but it was my first one ever. I've never been out to the west coast so I have no clue what a critical mass out there looks like.

But I also wasn't leading anyway.

I don't know, a situation is what you make of it. I had a great time riding my bike around Boston.
Re: Boston's Critical Mass is so fucking lame....
06 Aug 2004
i agree that the point of critical mass should not be to antagonize drivers, but to have fun riding around and showcase an alternative form of transportation.
of the two boston rides i've been on, the first one was fun but with two encounters between bikers and drivers with an equal amount of anger on either side (except the driver has a 2000 lb weapon). at least two riders seemed dissappointed that there weren't more clashes, which i thought was stupid.
the second time was a winter ride and mostly couriers, and went a bit too fast for my taste. either way, the actual purpose of the critical mass is going to be whatever most people on it have in mind. I'm looking forward to august's, and i hope that everyone who shows up wants to have FUN not CONFLICT. if you think someone is trying to start fights, tell them to their face or yell it out. if you think the route sucks, suggest something in the beginning or get in the front and nudge towards another one.
Re: Boston's Critical Mass is so fucking lame....
06 Aug 2004
People actually follow Dan the Bagel Man? Oh dear. He's well meaning, but leader material he is not.
Re: Boston's Critical Mass is so fucking lame....
07 Aug 2004
pull this shit.
Re: Boston's Critical Mass is so fucking lame....
07 Aug 2004
In SF it has become totally in-your-face combative and hostile. The more cars they pen in the more they cheer. Any message we were trying to get out was lost in the hostility that was created. Don't do it that way.
07 Aug 2004
Why the profanity? Message is crystal clear.
I say? March a million into time square at rush hour!!!
Re: Boston's Critical Mass is so fucking lame....
07 Aug 2004
It doesn't make sense to block traffic. Critical Mass is intended to show off the fact that bikes matter and are important to solving the problems of traffic and pollution.

Boston should NOT imitate San Francisco, by the way. San Francisco is a different city with different conditions. Boston actions should be based on the reality of Boston - the conditions, the traffic, the population, the laws, and the behavior of the authorities.

What I mean is that if you apply an idea somewhere, you can't base it on results from some other part of the world. You have to open your eyes and pay attention to the world around you, and not some abstract theory derived from someone elses experiance.

Of course you can learn things from other people's actions, but just remember that you are not them. You are YOU. And you are where you are, not where they are.

Nobody has to do what Dan the Bagal Man says, by the way. And if he's doing something you think is dumb, go to him face to face and let him know. He's just a guy with a hat. Y'know?
Re: Boston's Critical Mass is so fucking lame....
07 Aug 2004
Don't dis Dan because you don't like what he told you to do and because he's an easy person to pick out. Show some agency if you want a different route!
Re: Boston's Critical Mass is so fucking lame....
07 Aug 2004
first off...i feel your comment seems very reactionary and not actually encouraging an interesting debate about critical mass but only looking for equally reactionary responses.
second of all... i feel there are better things we could be doing with the bike ride but it feels so empowering to have that many rad kids on ikes blocking traffic after being basically shat on by cars for a whole month.
maybe it would be good if we opened up one lane or had someone handing out flyering about the sustainability of bikes or running your car on veggie oil. i feel no one really leads or organizes the ride so much to the point where it moves in any sort of direction its just sort of controled by the mass of people.
also there was a carbusters that had a similiar debate about whether to lock traffic or not in crit mass, if i find it ill forward the article.
Re: Boston's Critical Mass is so fucking lame....
08 Aug 2004
I am for the use of Critical Mass for civil disobeidience and to get a message across. Ofcouse it must be used carefully with great deal of other work to make sure your message isnt lost when Fox gives their report of asshole-anarchists making everyone late to work.